Lotteries expected as Olympic ticket deadline approaches
Time is nearly up for Canadians to get their orders in for the first round of ticket sales for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The deadline for residents of Canada to place their orders is midnight PT on Friday.
Caley Denton, vice-president of ticketing with the Vancouver Organizing Committee, said demand is already exceeding official sales targets and there's no doubt they'll need to hold a lottery for medal round hockey events.
Denton is also expecting demand will exceed supply in many other high-profile events, including figure skating and the opening and closing ceremonies. Officials have not been specific about which event tickets beyond hockey will be distributed by lottery.
Once the deadline has passed, a computer will randomly start picking who gets the seats for the popular events.
But those who don't get their first choice, may get a second chance. The system also allows people to make an alternative choice if they do not get their first choice, and to "cascade" their choices, so they get cheaper seats if a more expensive choice is not available.
Winners will be officially be notified in December, but they may learn earlier what tickets they can expect by checking their credit card bill, since the charges will be added in November as soon as the selections are made.
After the first round is over, everyone who bought tickets in the first round will get a second chance to add more events to their package starting Dec. 8.
Then, finally, in February the tickets will be sold to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
VANOC has also promised to set up its own ticket reselling system, to help people who have tickets they can't use sell them legally online, and to reduce the number of scalpers making money off the Games.
Many critics say the high prices for tickets are out of reach for the general public, with some premium seats at the opening ceremonies hitting $1,118. But VANOC says half of all tickets are $100 or less and more than 100,000 tickets are $25.
The Games begin Feb. 12, 2010.